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South Sudan: Bonino, agreement on ceasefire a first crucial step

The South Sudanese government and the opposition signed an agreement on a ceasefire in Addis Ababa this evening thanks to the mediation of the intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the regional organisation that unites the countries of the Horn of Africa. Present at the signing, among others, was our ambassador in Addis Ababa Renzo Rosso, as representative of Italy, which joins Ethiopia as co-president of the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF). The agreement ensures suspension of the hostilities that began on 15 December between the forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those aligned with former Vice President Riek Machar. According to UN sources, to date the conflict has resulted in over 1000 deaths, 500,000 internally displaced persons and nearly 90,000 refugees.

“The ceasefire agreement in South Sudan is an important development that will facilitate humanitarian access to the civilian victims of the conflict”, commented Minister Emma Bonino. “It will now be necessary to support the IGAD mediation and encourage the parties to pursue dialogue, with a view to achieving a broader political agreement that can provide the basis for true and lasting national reconciliation”, the minister added.